Puʻu ʻŌʻō (pronounced “poo-oo oh-oh”) is a cinder/spatter cone in the eastern rift zone of the Kīlauea volcano of the Hawaiian Islands. The photo herein was taken about 25′ very mouth of Pele. Look close enough and you can see Pele’s mouth, nose and eyes. I was lucky to have gotten up close to this spectacle — as it’s illegal to hike near the volcano. “Oh-oh!”
Puʻu ʻŌʻō has been erupting continuously since January 3, 1983, making it the longest-lived rift-zone eruption of the last two centuries. Although the name is often translated as “Hill of the ʻŌʻō Bird” from Hawaiian, there is a different explanation of the Hawaiian appellation. The word ʻŌʻō also means digging stick. Because in Hawaiian legends the volcano goddess Pele uses her magic rod pāoa to create volcanic pits, this seems to be the intention for the naming. The cone was originally informally called “Puʻu O” by volcanologists, who simply assigned letters to vents as they arose during the first part of the eruption.
If you want to get up close – make sure to get a guide who has “been there – done that.” You can only hike in through the dark of night – which makes it even more dangerous. Whew.
There are a few reasons why the Pacific ocean is so blue. When light strikes water, the water filters the light so that red is absorbed and some blue is reflected. Blue also travels further through water than light with longer wavelengths (red, yellow, green) though very little light reaches deeper than 200 meters (656 feet), and no light at all penetrates beyond 2,000 meters (3,280 feet). Another reason the ocean appears blue is because it reflects the color of the sky. And overall, due to Hawaii’s low air-level pollution, the sky is bluer in appearance. Someone asked me why my photos depict a “deep blue ocean” … and add, “is that shopped?” ANSWER: it’s the Pacific as seen from Hawaii — and no, it’s not shopped. Aloha.
This photo was taken early in the day at Ka Lae, also known as South Point, is the southernmost point of the Big Island of Hawaii and of the 50 United States. The Ka Lae area is registered as a National Historic Landmark District under the name South Point Complex. Click to enlarge.
So I’m hooked. Kahiolena. The song, the story, the location. All of which make for a wonderful adventure. Ka’u is the largest wilderness area in ALL of Hawai’i. It’s important – and historic. Many Hawaiian historians acknowledge Ka’u as the first “greenhouse” for the Hawaiian people. Eatable plants were cultivated in this region. and the song, Kahiolena speaks of its importance. The photo was ‘borrowed’ from the website to share the beauty of the area. Aloha.
Counting down to July 4th: four days to celebration, four days to the Tour de France and four days to find out if Kim Jong-il is an idiot.
In just four days the Tour de France launches itself from Monaco, America celebrates its independence and somewhere in North Korea a dead Kjil is considering what he’s going to do with the “said missile” aimed at my home in the middle of the Pacific – Hawai’i.
While evil comes in three’s, I’ve only found one in that mix. I must find a “good note” within the mix to balance the two positives: July 4th (my personal once-per-year celebration; ) and the Tour. Viva la Tour! Maybe I’ll visit Hawai’i on Saturday for good measure while watching the Tour.
Alas, three goodies in one day. More from the state of grace we call Hawai’i on July 4th. Trust me – I’ll be there. Aloha.
The Mauna Kea Silver Sword (Argyroxiphium sandwicense ssp. sandwicense) is a crown jewel of Hawaii’s native flora. The plant is named for its mountain habitat and its striking rosette of dagger-shaped leaves covered with dense layers of silvery hairs. The rosettes appear jewel-like in the cinder and lava fields on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea volcano, especially when water condenses on the leaves as clouds pass by. I’ve touched (briefly) the Silver Sword – and it felt somewhat like plastic and seemed unnatural. It appeared to be more of a movie set prop than a living plant
Large rosettes, which can be 2 feet in diameter at maturity, produce a massive, 6-foot tall flowering stalk with up to 600 showy heads, each containing up to 500 individual flowers. The Mauna Kea Silver Sword is a member of the Silver Sword alliance, an endemic plant lineage in the sunflower family (Asteraceae), that is one of Hawaii’s premier examples of adaptive radiation.
Though species in the Silver Sword alliance grow in a dazzling array of habitats and exhibit great variation in form, they evolved from a single ancestor that arrived in Hawaii several million years ago from North America, probably as a seed caught in the feathers of a wandering bird. Alas, the Silver Sword is both a plant and an animal. Aloha.
Just when I thought WordPress was “all that” I realized that I must add an upgrade of at least 5GB in order to upload music files. I’ve added one file over the last year – and so this wasn’t on my radar. Crazy. To view the Secret Beach video, click here. The sound is ambient – and the images are mine. Aloha.
Our shipment of Kona coffee – from “Blue Horse” arrived last week. We broke out the 8lb order to view and smell. Yummy. Our first batch was brewed on Saturday and it was very tasty. Some family members will likely enjoy one or more of these as well. Aloha.
My Kona Fire Rock beer supply is now down to two bottles. “Baby go wauggghhh.” Hopefully the friendly beer-dude at Kro-ger has replenished the store’s supply so I can obtain some more Pale-aleth.
Although, upon my last visit I did find Kona Long Board (the other variety) in ‘full stock’ – so either way my Kona-fix will be readied for weekend enjoyment.
Remember: Drink responsibly. Don’t drink and drive. Buzzed driving is drunk driving. Etc. Etc.
Just when I thought I needed to travel super-far in order to snag some Fire Rock Pale Ale, it landed at the Kroger in Alcoa, Tennessee. Go figure. All I can say is – alohaaahhhh. Fire Rock is produced by Kona Brewing Company, a Big Island brewery who is committed to producing tasty handcrafted beers. I for one would like to work with their team of motivated individuals. I too am passionate about quality. It will be consumed responsibly of course.
What a wonderful location for a restaurant – and not just any restaurant, one of the best on the Island. Having eaten at Jameson’s by the Sea, North Shore (O’ahu), I anticipated great food and a cozy spot to relax while doing so. Jameson’s by the Sea, Hawai’i, is even better than the North Shore version. I’m not sure if it’s the location (it was two minutes from our condo) or the location next to White Sands beach, or the location of where we were seated for dinner. In combination with tasty Ahi, this made for a wonderful evening. It capped an adventurous day at South Point (images coming soon). Aloha.
Two roads go around Mauna Kea, the lower Mana Road goes from the 6,500 foot level and comes out in Waimea. The higher Kahinahina Road starts at the 9,000 foot level and goes 37 miles, all the way around Mauna Kea and back out on Saddle road at mile marker 43. The upper road is a diverse drive that ranges from 7,200 ft all the way to 10,000 ft. Since the tree line is at about 8,000 to 9,000 ft this drive takes you in and out of a variety of ecosystems interspersed with spectacular Mauna Kea vistas you can not see any other way.
We selected the upper road because it’s shorter. Having driven the entire 37 miles and now knowing what I know – I suggest that you start near the Welcome Center at the base of Mauna Kea and travel R-1 all the way until you reach the large lava bomb at the “triangle” path in the road. It cannot be missed. The lone bomb is large and near the point of the left side of the triangle.
If you continue on R-1 at that point you’re asking for serious trouble unless you know how to handle a 4×4 in tough conditions. I’m referring to slopes in excess of 25% and the ability to three-wheel your vehicle across lava rocks. Or back up while on a gradient of 25%!
If it’s raining (and it began to rain late in our trip) I highly advise NOT to attempt completing the last 18 miles unless you’ve got some stubby tires for extra grip. Trust me, the rental car company Jeeps are prepped with road tires and have little traction in truly wet, muddy conditions. I am thankful we completed 30 miles of the journey before we met rain and fog (cousins who live at the base of Mauna Kea!).
The entire trip can take 7 hours if you hike and explore along the way. We stopped three times to explore the surroundings and that was nicely balanced with photo stops to capture the adventure. Afterward we circled back on Saddle Road toward Mauna Kea and took the road to the top – 13,796 feet to be exact. And yes, there was snow on top of the mountain. In fact (see my hand reaching in the snow bank), the height of the tallest bank was over 6′. On one cinder cone we notice snowboard tracks!
After visiting the sites atop Mauna Kea, we traveled toward the Pacific and rested at Kua Bay for an hour – dipping into the ocean to wash off the dust and dirt from our journey. Atop Mauna Kea it was in the low 40’s and about 58 degrees all the way around the upper road. At Kua Bay it was 83 and breezy. What a kick ass day.
Little did we know that just up the mountain side from us (we stayed in Keauhou) was an inactive volcano. The name? Hualalai.
And it is the third youngest and third-most historically active volcano on the Island of Hawai`i. Six different vents erupted lava between the late 1700s and 1801, two of which generated lava flows that poured into the sea on the west coast of the island. The Keahole Airport, located only 11 km north of Kailua-Kona, is built atop the larger flow.
Though Hualalai is not nearly as active as Mauna Loa or Kilauea, recent geologic mapping of the volcano shows that 80 percent of Hualalai’s surface has been covered by lava flows in the past 5,000 years. In the past few decades, when most of the resorts, homes, and commercial buildings were built on the flanks of Hualalai, earthquake activity beneath the volcano has been low. In 1929, however, an intense swarm of earthquakes lasting more than a month was most likely caused by magma rising to near the surface. For these reasons, Hualalai is considered a potentially dangerous volcano that is likely to erupt again in the next 100 years.
Notice Hualali in the background of the attached photo. It’s close enough to climb, and close enough to blanket the area with lava. Better arrange for a getaway boat, cause we’re gonna need one.